Nottinghamshire’s Deputy Police and Crime Commissioner Chris Cutland has today announced further details of an ambitious research project aimed at transforming support services for victims of domestic abuse.
A tendering process was launched in August inviting academic organisations to submit a bid for the project, which will assess service provision to vulnerable domestic violence victims and identify gaps where support could be strengthened.
Following a formal selection process, it was announced today that the project had been awarded to a joint bid from the Department of Criminology, University of Leicester, which will be led by Dr Rebecca Barnes and Dr Clare Gunby in conjunction with Professor Carol Hedderman, Dr Sarah Hodgkinson, Tammy Ayres and Jo Roberts. The team of academics will also be working with Kerry Sullivan from Nottingham-based domestic violence agency Equation.
The work, which is set to get underway next month, is designed to protect, support and respond to repeat female victims of medium risk domestic abuse. Deputy Commissioner Cutland is responsible for making recommendations to enhance the provision available in Nottinghamshire. One of the chief aims of the research is to evaluate current response standards so that any weaknesses can be identified. Future decisions can then be taken to strengthen these areas and provide more help to survivors and their children and families as well as perpetrators. It is also designed to increase value for money in domestic violence support by reducing procurement costs and streamlining services.
The project will draw on a multitude of existing information as well as research currently underway to help formulate conclusions. This includes the lessons learned from the Independent Police Complaints Commission (IPCC) reviews of domestic violence cases in the county, the restructure of the Public Protection Unit (PPU) of Nottinghamshire Police which investigates domestic abuse cases, re-examination of the former Police Authority’s domestic abuse scrutiny committee recommendations, Nottinghamshire County Council’s commissioning arrangements for services aimed at women and children affected by domestic violence and the City Council’s Safer from Harm review of domestic violence commissioned services.
Domestic violence accounts for two-thirds of all reported violence in Nottinghamshire and Police and Crime Commissioner Paddy Tipping has prioritised this category of crime as part of an overall plan to focus resources on services to victims.
As a result, following engagement with providers, partner agencies and service users, three Medium Risk Intervention Workers will now be committed to the support of repeat female victims of domestic abuse across the City and the County. This work is being funded by the Nottinghamshire Police and Crime Commissioner and delivered by Women’s Aid Integrated Services and Nottinghamshire Women’s Aid Ltd.
Deputy Commissioner Cutland, who is the former chief executive of Women’s Aid in Nottinghamshire, said: “I’m really excited that the University of Leicester is on-board and will be moving this research forward so that we can start to get a better understanding of how we can do more to help victims of domestic violence and build upon our current skills and services.
“We want to improve both our preventative and reactive response to victims of domestic abuse but we also want to target those people who before now have been too frightened to contact police and seek help. One of my personal hopes for this work is that we can build confidence among victims so that they never think twice about asking for help and seeking justice.”
Dr Rebecca Barnes also commented: “We are really looking forward to working collaboratively with the Nottinghamshire Office of the Police and Crime Commissioner to better understand how to meet the needs of repeat victims of domestic abuse.”
Dr Clare Gunby added: “Nottinghamshire is developing some innovative new support for medium risk, repeat female victims and this project is an excellent opportunity to develop our understanding around what works in terms of keeping women and children safe from future harm.”
Since her appointment, the Deputy Commissioner has been continually monitoring the improvement actions identified from the previous police authority scrutiny panel and its follow-up internal audit, providing regular updates to the Police and Crime Panel. Meanwhile, the results of Her Majesty’s Inspectorate of Constabularies (HMIC) Thematic Inspection on domestic violence, which has been commissioned by the Home Secretary, are due to be published in April next year.
The latest research project is due to be presented in August 2015 and will involve setting up victim focus groups and interviewing individuals, service providers and partners and identify any gaps in the provision of services as well as exploring any issues of under-reporting to the police.
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Posted on Wednesday 30th October 2013